On January 11, 2018, the bill HB2460 firearm safety education programs in public schools was introduced into the Kansas House of Representatives Committee on Federal and State Affairs. This bill would require any public school teaching gun safety at public elementary schools to use the Eddie Eagle curriculum developed by the National Rifle Association (NRA). 20/20 did a special on the ineffectiveness of programs like Eddie Eagle, based on the research and with the cooperation of child psychologist, Dr. Marjorie SanFilippo.
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This bill would mandate that any curriculum about gun safety in public schools “shall be based on the Eddie Eagle Gunsafe program offered by the national rifle association or any successor program” and used “for students enrolled in kindergarten and grades one through eight.” The curriculum for students in grades 9-12 “shall be based on the hunter education in our schools program offered by the Kansas department of wildlife, parks and tourism or any successor program.” The application to be an instructor for the Department of Wildlife Hunter Education program prohibits instructors from saying anything negative about hunting. Doing so would risk their instructor certificate:
“You will be expected to portray a favorable image of hunters, hunting, and Hunter Education; to be a positive role model for the students as well as the community at large. Any action that brings discredit can result in revocation of instructor certification.”
This requirement prohibits instructors from informing students about the negative effects of hunting on the environment.
The naming of the Eddie Eagle GunSafe program and the Hunter Education program designed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife in this bill would make it so that no other gun safety programs could be chosen by school officials and would give the NRA and the Department of Wildlife control over this area of public school curriculum.
Perhaps a refresher of Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution is in order:
“The legislature shall provide for intellectual, educational, vocational and scientific improvement by establishing and maintaining public schools, educational institutions and related activities. . .” 6.1 (emphasis added)
When the Kansas legislature mandates the use of a private program, like Eddie Eagle, as a part of the public school curriculum, they are not maintaining the public nature of our schools in the state of Kansas as guaranteed by the Kansas Constitution.
This bill is not only against the Kansas Constitution, but it would only serve the financial and promotional purposes of the gun lobby, the NRA.
If this potential law bothers you, please inform your Kansas Representatives.